Connect with us
The Darkhold
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘The Darkhold’ review

Darkhold tells its tale through a handful of key one-shots that fit perfectly into a single trade paperback.

Looking back at the Marvel crossovers over the last few years, from Empyre to King in Black, we often find a core series with a myriad of one-shots, team-specific minis and tie-ins, all to give the sense that this event matters to the larger universe’s continuity. While Marvel has done a fine job making sure these events don’t require readers to pick up every related book, it can be overwhelming when deciding which parts of the larger narrative to explore.

The recent Darkhold event forgoes this approach and tells its tale through a small handful of key one-shots that fit perfectly into a single trade paperback. While the overall arc will likely stand as but a footnote years from now, it still provides an enjoyable ride with an odd assortment of heroes and interesting art from different stylistic corners of the medium.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

Darkhold focuses on Scarlet Witch’s attempts to stop Doctor Doom from getting his hands on the Book of the Damned, a cursed tome with untold power. In addition to the initial Darkhold Alpha and concluding Omega issues, this trade collects the five single one-shots featuring the team — Blade, Wasp, Iron Man, Black Bolt and Spider-Man — gathered to retrieve the cursed item.  It’s an odd assortment of heroes, but a nice way to give some of these characters room to engage with their heavyweight counterparts. Doctor Doom, in all his hubris, plans to obtain the Lovecraft inspired text to further his own aims, putting him on a collision course with Wanda and her team. It’s a perfectly serviceable premise, layering canonical lore the way only Marvel can.

'The Darkhold' review
Marvel

Each issue other than Alpha and Omega, has a different creative team at bat. Steve Orlando and Cian Tormey cover the trade’s bookends, providing a brisk through-line for the other books to fill. My personal favorites were Iron Man (by Ryan North and Guiillermo Sanna) and Wasp (Jordie Bellaire and Claire Roe), as both these titles are visually throwbacks to ’50s and ’60s comics. Something about the scripting and blocking felt appropriate for a story engaging with Lovecraft-inspired content. 

As each hero goes deeper in the Darkhold, they become twisted and debauched, sanctioning more ominous versions of the iconic heroes to mature. Each issue does a solid job exploring these grotesque versions and gives this story purpose by providing further depth to their existing lore. 

'The Darkhold' review
Marvel

Between this and The Trial of Magneto, Marvel seems to be dedicating lots of pages to rehabilitating Wanda Maximoff. I’m not entirely sure if that reflects the character’s current popularity in the MCU or a sign that Marvel has big plans for the character in the coming years, but it’s been nice to see her returned to the heroic fold as an inspiring frontrunner. 

Not every crossover or event needs to leave a monumental impact; sometimes simply having a clear story to tell with an interesting roster of characters and creators is enough. On that front, Darkhold succeeds in being a focused read without significant supplemental material to comprehend. Yet, it will likely leave committed Marvel fans underwhelmed by its scale and scope.  

The Darkhold
‘The Darkhold’ review
The Darkhold
Darkhold succeeds in being a focused read without significant supplemental material to comprehend. Yet, it will likely leave committed Marvel fans underwhelmed by its scale and scope.  
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Seven issues that tell the whole Darkhold tale.
Some fine art from Guiillermo Sanna and Claire Roe.
Fans of the Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom should enjoy parts of this story.
While fine in delivery, it's underwhelming in its scope and purpose.
6
Average

Join the AIPT Patreon

Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:

  • ❌ Remove all ads on the website
  • 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
  • 📗 Access to our monthly book club
  • 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
  • 💥 And more!
Sign up today
Comments

In Case You Missed It

DC Preview: Tim Drake: Robin #1 DC Preview: Tim Drake: Robin #1

DC Preview: Tim Drake: Robin #1

Comic Books

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and the Green Lanterns have combined their might and mechanized resources to help the world, but they're not a team quite yet. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and the Green Lanterns have combined their might and mechanized resources to help the world, but they're not a team quite yet.

DC Preview: DC: Mech #3

Comic Books

DC Preview: Batman: Beyond the White Knight #5 DC Preview: Batman: Beyond the White Knight #5

DC Preview: Batman: Beyond the White Knight #5

Comic Books

DC Preview: DC vs. Vampires #9 DC Preview: DC vs. Vampires #9

DC Preview: DC vs. Vampires #9

Comic Books

Connect
Newsletter Signup